When 30 People Were ‘Gunned’ Down By Army Personnel in Kupwara

SRINAGAR: It was January 27 1994 when the forces of 31 Medium Regiment gunned down 27 civilians including three policemen in Kupwara district in the northern part of Kashmir for observing shutdown on the eve of “India’s Republic Day”.

Justice continues to elude the families of the victims even after 23 years. The First Information Report vide number 19/1994 under section 302, 307 lodged in Police Station Kupwara reads, “In a criminal assault, the soldiers of 31 Medium Regiment who were on road opening party duty led by field officer S Bakshi gunned down scores of people in indiscriminate firing in Kupwara market and its vicinity without any provocation.”

The victims who fell to the bullets were mostly traders. Three among them were policemen and one was a government employee. A local from the district said that they are all set to observe a complete shutdown on Wednesday to commemorate the anniversary of the massacre. The survivors allege that the massacre was carried out by the soldiers to punish the people for observing shutdown on January 26.

“A day before India’s Republic Day, Indian Army had warned the shopkeepers of dire consequences if they observe strike and didn’t celebrate the R-day,” said a local shopkeeper who survived the massacre adding that ignoring the warning people especially traders observed a complete shutdown in the district on January 26.

“As the shopkeepers opened their shops on January 27, the soldiers came and opened indiscriminate fire from all directions, killing 27 people and leaving scores wounded,” he said and added that after the gruesome massacre, the soldiers “asked us to assemble in the ground and undergo an identification parade.”

He said none was allowed to lift the bodies and carry the injured to hospital. “A boy died in front of his father, who begged before armed troopers to allow him to take his son to the hospital. But they didn’t give heed to his pleas,” the shopkeeper who survived during the blood bath said.

Locals alleged that killers were shielded and they are still roaming free. “We demand that case should be reopened and killers be punished. We are waiting for the day when killers would be punished,” they added. (CNS)

‘Nation Will Never Forget Martyrs’

Paying glowing tributes to martyrs of Kupwara massacres on their 23rd anniversary, Hurriyat Conference (G) chairperson, Syed Ali Geelani on Thursday said that the “nation will never forget the martyrs” of these heart-wrenching massacres. “They are our heros and we are committed to fulfill their mission,” the Hurriyat patriarch said in a statement.

He demanded impartial investigation into these massacres so that the involved persons are held strictly accountable and said, “armed forces are involved in serious war crimes and unless those accused are brought to book these gruesome events will continue to occur.”

Geelani said that the peaceful citizens in Kupwara were innocent and the example of such brutal massacres is hard to find. “They didn’t attend the republican day of the occupier and observed shutdown against brutal forces and their highhandedness and for this they had to pay in terms of their lives,” he added. “This was the reason and Indian forces in a bid to teach them lesson resorted to indiscriminate firing killing dozens of innocents.”

The top pro-freedom leader while lamenting the Indian rulers said, “killers are roaming free and those involved were not prosecuted nor the incident was investigated by any independent agency. They are roaming free and assassins were accorded with medals and elevated to higher posts.”

Expressing his solidarity and sympathy with the families of martyrs, Geelani said, “the blood of these martyrs will not be allowed go waste. We stand with these families and will strive till the mission of martyrs is accomplished.”

Acknowledging the commitment of people of Kupwara, Geelani further said, “we pay our salute to them as they are front runners for ongoing movement. We appreciate their sacrifices and commitment and we know that the district is strictly under continuous vigil of countless armed men but despite all this their exemplary valour is praiseworthy and laudable.”




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